We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!

Much beer will flow today…

Some questions about US politics…

I have been fixated on UK politics lately and have perhaps not given the ‘Trump and Russian Collusion’ affair the attention it deserves.

Simply put, if the report exonerates Trump and his administration of illegality (even if not fuckwitterly), would it be a fair characterisation to say the following things are true?

1. Trump’s protestation that he was being subjected to a witch-hunt by politically motivated Federal figures has been vindicated.
2. Trump’s more questionable actions were attempts to fight back against political enemies employing now debunked accusations.
3. No one is being prosecuted for trying to bring down a duly elected President with bogus charges.

Or have I got it all wrong? Educate me as I really have not been paying attention.

What do people think of Open Rights Group?

The White Paper expresses a clear desire for tech companies to “design in safety”. As the process of consultation now begins, we call on DCMS to “design in fundamental rights”. Freedom of expression is itself a framework, and must not be lightly glossed over. We welcome the opportunity to engage with DCMS further on this topic: before policy ideas become entrenched, the government should consider deeply whether these will truly achieve outcomes that are good for everyone.

– remarks by Jim Killock and Amy Shepherd on the ORG site.

Seems to me that ORG thinks the ‘Online Harms Strategy’ just needs to be written better rather than the very notion of the government poking its nose into the internet is an abomination that needs to die in a fire. I have not followed the ORG closely, so am I being unfairly critical? Perhaps I am just allergic to the incredibly dangerous ‘positive rights’ language I see in some ORG articles. Opinions?

1642

Samizdata has no ‘official position’ on Brexit. Some of the samizdatistas support it, others do not, and for reasons I fully understand. Fine by me, it is not a ‘libertarian’ issue and opinions held in good faith vary on the likely aftermath either way.

So my view is just my view. And my view of where the UK finds itself is no longer a matter of “is Brexit a good idea?” but rather if, in view of the obvious attempts to roll back the result of the referendum, has the state de-legitimised itself? Has Parliament become a self-serving enemy of the people it supposedly represents? And if so, what can be done about it?

“This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.”

They didn’t have to say that, but they did. They didn’t have to hold the referendum, but they did. So clearly voting will have been demonstrated as pointless if we do not in reality end the political control of the EU & its associated institutions after a majority voted to do precisely that. If leaving the EU proves to have been a terrible idea, then by all means hold another vote on trying to rejoin the EU later. But implement the result of the referendum first. Otherwise, next time a party gets a majority in Parliament, if I don’t like the result, I say we skip the whole tiresome implementation phase of a government taking power & just hold more votes until the correct result is achieved.

Absurd, of course. But that is what some people want regarding the referendum and they are working hard to achieve that. This is what de-legitimisation looks like.

Well, in my view, if we have not left the EU on the 29th of March, more voting on the issue is worthless. But votes are not the only way to express a political opinion. Demonstrations are of course peachy, but they are also easy to ignore and will be mis-characterised as ‘far right’ by the media no matter who else turns up. That said… I recommend purchasing some Yellow Vests. I am buying five as I have friends who tend not to plan ahead.

Tax strikes, on the other hand, attack the very foundations of the state. If 1,000 people do this, they will get dragged into court and made a public example of. However if 100,000+ do it, the entire system will come unglued, and we now have a real rebellion with teeth.

I never thought I would have to write this article, but here we are. I am not musing on the future, this is what is staring us in the face right now.

Truly awful WordPress update broke many things…

Until we can figure out how to fix WordPress’ “helpful” update that over-rides CSS, Samizdata will be looking a bit weird… sorry folks.

And hey WordPress… fuck you.  Maybe time to start looking for an alternative to WordPress.

How time flies…

On November 2nd 2001, we started scribbling random thoughts on this blog. My goodness, how much the world has change since then, and us along with it.

China’s hardware hack: massive implications if true

Bloomberg is running an utterly astounding story about a massive Chinese hardware hack that if true will have considerable political impact but truly enormous economic implications.

This will have a long-term bearish effect on China’s hitherto unchallengeable position as the overwhelmingly dominant manufacturer of computers, phones and high tech IT component.

And yet… I hesitate to immediately take this entire story at face value, precisely because the geo-political/economic implications are so dramatic that I can hear the sound of a great many axes grinding.

Still, it is certainly something I can well believe the Chinese government would do, even with the associated risk to China’s IT marketability. But then the same is probably true of the US government, I would not put such a thing past them either.

Samizdata quote of the day

To take an example, many students in universities and employees at Google take bias training courses that tell them “white privilege” and “systemic racism” explain disparities in outcomes between groups, despite the fact that—to take one example—Asian Americans from China and India (‘people of color’) make more money and are incarcerated at lower rates than whites. According to the conspiratorial worldview of many faculty in grievance studies departments, citing statistics and making arguments that go against the privilege narrative proves that you have an unconscious bias against minorities, and that you’re probably a white supremacist.

Jonathan Anomaly, who is not only a smart chap but has quite possibly the greatest name ever.

Samizdata quote of the day

The thing is we know how these sorts of plans work out. France has long insisted that a certain amount of French language – and often French produced – material be played upon radio stations. So, there’s a cottage industry in recording songs in French. Which then sell 15 copies – enough for one to each radio station – which are then played at 3 am when even Frenchmen are asleep. This meets the quota and the daytime hours, when adverts are worth something, is in English just as the listeners want it to be.

Given that we’re talking about on demand services here even that much chicanery won’t be necessary. Buy up the rights to some set of old European shlock and have it available in the catalogue and we’re done. There will be tapes of old Danish game shows out there, Greek chat shows, French – Que Dieu nous aide – intellectual debates. The rights to each entire series costing perhaps €1 in perpetuity. Stick them up and we’re done. Judging by the standard output of Portuguese TV there’re thousands upon thousands of hours of accordion music available.

No one will watch them of course, just as they didn’t first time around. The law will have had no effect other than to signal the cultural sensitivity – and economic stupidity – of MEPs. But then what would politics be if it wasn’t mere such signalling?

Tim Worstall nailing it perfectly 😀

Rod Liddle says what the Stupid Party front bench are too useless to say

Nice one, Rod.

Why is John McCain kicking the bucket a big deal with the media?

US Senator John McCain, an ultra-hawk super-statist on the leftmost edge of GOP, kicked the bucket recently. And it seems that this is big news, given the constant stream of articles on the topic ever since. But why is that? And in particular, why are the BBC and Sky, both UK based channels, headlining this when when the vast majority of people outside the USA have a level of interest approaching zero? Yes, it warrants reporting but why is such an event being bigged up like this? Was it because he had the good manners to lose an election to Barack Obama?

Samizdata quote of the day

I am persuaded that no system of government — democratic, oligarchic, aristocratic, monarchical, tyrannical, oriental despotic or worse, liberal-progressive — can deliver anything resembling justice in this world, unless it is under the direction of angels.

David Warren, via Maggie’s Farm